The COVID-19 Disaster Payments will be wound down once Australia’s states and territories hit the 70 per cent double vaccinated rate, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced, in a move that aims to discourage states from reintroducing lockdown measures.
Once a state reaches that target, Aussies will have to manually apply for the $750 and $450 weekly payments, which are currently flowing through automatically.
The Treasurer said the payments were always intended to be temporary.
“There should be no expectation that the unprecedented level of economic support from the Federal Government will continue indefinitely, just as we can't have lockdowns indefinitely,” Frydenberg said on Today.
As restrictions ease, people should get back to work “very quickly”, he told Sunrise. “These emergency payments cannot continue at the scale that they are forever.”
Here’s what we know about the plans so far.
When your state or territory hits 70%...
Your payments will cease to be automatic.
You’ll have to reapply each week, and if you live in a Commonwealth-defined Hotspot or LGA of concern, then you’ll be eligible to keep receiving them.
When your state or territory hits 80 per cent…
The temporary payment will “step down” for two weeks, then end completely.
In the first week after reaching 80 per cent, there will be a “flat payment” of $450 for those who have lost more than 8 hours of work.
Those who get any money from Centrelink and are currently receiving the $200 top-up will see that booster reduced to $100.
In the second week after reaching 80 per cent, those who have lost more than 8 hours of work will see their payments “brought into line with JobSeeker” and get $320 that week.
Meanwhile, the Centrelink booster will be axed completely.
If you’re still out of work after all this, you’ll have to register with Centrelink.
The $1,500 a fortnight Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment will continue until the end of June 2022.
This payment is for those who may have contracted COVID-19 or are a close contact, and have been specifically ordered by a health official to self-isolate at home and unable to work as a result.
Which state or territory has the highest double vaccination rate?
At the time of publishing, the ACT is currently in the lead, with 62.2 per cent of its residents having received both doses, according to the latest Health Department data.
Following closely behind at 61.7 per cent is NSW. Frydenberg’s announcement comes just days after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced an updated roadmap out of lockdown.
The roadmap now outlines eased restrictions after the 70 per cent target is achieved, with ‘freedom day’ confirmed for 11 October.
Berejiklian expects NSW will reach the 80 per cent target towards the end of October or roughly two weeks after 11 October.
57.1 per cent of Tasmania’s residents have had both doses, while just over half (51.5 per cent) of NT residents 16 or older have been double jabbed.
SA and Victoria are neck and neck with both southern states at 48.4 per cent, followed by Queensland at 45.6 per cent.
WA currently has the lowest double dose rate at 45.3 per cent.